Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
What Ethnic Group Will Replace Nazis?

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 29 May 2012 16:00
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The research I do on the games I review tends to be limited to reading the title on the front of the box, and since the game never goes out of its way to tell you and I'm not the sort of person who does this kind of thing for giggles I didn't know that you can explode the enemy's testicles in Sniper Elite V2. In slow-motion X-ray style. But now that I do know, and I've watched an example of it on YouTube, I think worse of the game for it. I mean, I'm fine with the head and vital organ cam because that's letting you see how skillful you're being, but the testicle thing is where we encroach upon the territory of juvenile schoolyard giggling at the glorification of horrific violence upon one's fellow man. It gives me second thoughts about my position that anything you do to Nazis is guilt-free.

I don't want to open up the comments to this particular debate, suffice to say that the fact that there can possibly be any debate as to whether torture is ever justified goes to prove how much evolving we as a species still need to do. Nobody "deserves" to be tortured, and anyone who attempts to justify it is an utterly toxic character. Even if you try to pretend it's not because you, personally, just want some ugly sadistic revenge against whoever's convenient, there's no practical benefit to it whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Torture one guy and you inspire fifty of his mates. You can't pretend to be the goodies when the enemy propaganda authors don't even need to make shit up.

Whoops! This light-hearted gaming column is getting a little bit heavy, isn't it. Well, let's leave that behind and talk about acceptable targets. As much as killing Nazis (the unambiguous villains of modern history) after all that Modern Warfare piddle is like greeting an old friend or slipping into an old, comfortable jumper, I wouldn't want all war games to go back to it. We'd just get sick of them again, in the same way I'm currently sick of having to kill Russians so much.

Games only pick on Russians these days because Russians are one of the few remaining groups no one gets uppity about when you demonize them (except me, apparently), unlike brown-skinned people or Jews. But there are so many other completely acceptable targets that don't rely on cultural or nationalistic prejudice that games don't seem to touch upon very often. One of the goals I have for XP is to encourage more creative thinking in game development, so to that end, let's compile a short list.

Mongols

Not modern-day Mongolians, who I'm sure like all former empires are now permanently faintly embarrassed about it, but the Mongol hordes of ancient times. The guys were absolute dicks. They went around conquering a load of places without even asking first, but what ticks me off the most is that they burnt down libraries. They destroyed some of the greatest Arabian houses of learning during a time when the Islamic world was the center of civilization, robbing the modern world of much of the knowledge of the past and setting back human evolution by centuries. Essentially they're the whole reason dipshits still debate torture on internet forums.

Oh yeah, and they also killed a whole bunch of people, but we make video games about blowing people's bollocks off so who are we to judge.

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